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Jacob Broadway

Headphones - Open, Closed, or IEM's?

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Warning, possible newb content: My first post here! I am in the market for some headphones. I am just getting into doing some boom work. I am primarily considering the Ultrasone Pro550s. These are excellent sounding and very comfortable. They come with extras and a case. I'll definitely go with these over something like the 7506's. My question is whether it would be beneficial to have open-back phones so I can hear the director etc. more easily or if its best to isolate my ears and focus on what the mic is hearing? If closed is the concensus then does anyone use high quality in-ears to avoid the sweat of a hot shoot?

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Welcome. I'd say first of all, why wouldn't you consider an industry standard like the 7506's if you are new to this? My opinion is that they are a great place to start, but that's just an opinion, and everyone has one of those.

Closed-back headphones only. Your boom mic will pickup any sound coming out of an 'open-back' set of headphones, and needless to say that's not good. Besides, your ability to monitor what the mic is picking up is your greatest asset as a boom op, and if the mic is hot, you shouldn't have any trouble hearing the director or anyone else. A good trick to avoid fatigue is to turn your headphone volume down during lens changes or other long pauses, and let your ears rest. You'll be able to hear director and anyone else through the headphones when they are off, but the people's voices will simply be slightly muffled. You get used to it. Plus if you're booming and have a dedicated sound mixer, that person should have a feedback system setup so he or she can communicate with you.

The sweat of a hot shoot is just something you have to learn to live with. My advice here: handkerchiefs. Go to a dollar store and buy 10 or 20 of them. Wash them all a few times to make them soft and then you'll have many for your long, hot days on set. They are cheap too, and they make great gifts for sweaty crew members wiping their eyes and foreheads with their shirts. People are sure to remember you when you make their lives easier.

My $0.02.

8)

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I use Ultrasone 700s as my headphones when I am working off a cart. I use Westone IEMs when I am an OMB (one man band) because I am more active and it "lightens the load". Between takes, I either slide one cup away from my ear or pull one IEM out. This way I can monitor and communicate with crew at the same time. As far as whether you should go with (closed) headphones or IEMs, that is a highly personal choice. Which brand you choose is also a highly personal choice. My best advice is seek quality, this is how you monitor, and it is an integral part of your kit.

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As close as you can. (You can hearing the director with your boom mic)

I'm very happy with the Sennheiser HD25-1 (12 years with me)

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Thank you for the responses! I have some Beyer 770's which I use in the studio but the fuzzy pads were brutal outside. Which is why I'm looking for a 2nd pair. Sounds like either closed-back or IEM's is the prescribed tool.

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